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July 7, 2005

Inside The Latest Cirrus Chute Deployment...

By Russ Niles
Newswriter, Editor

Chute First, Ask Questions Later

Ilan Reich last Thursday turned a Cirrus SR22 into a powered parachute and in doing so possibly saved his own life and perhaps those of people on the ground. He broke his back and found out he'll probably never fly again, but, given the host of much more serious potential results, he's not really complaining. In a detailed account of the short flight that ended with a parachute descent into a creek near Haverstraw, N.Y., Reich describes using power from the still-running engine to avoid dropping onto the fuel tanks that supply a conventional power plant there. "I applied right aileron and rudder, and rocked the power lever to make sure that the engine still had power. These actions caused the plane to gently veer away from the tank farm and over the water," Reich wrote. Reich was returning the plane to his home base at Westchester County Airport from maintenance at nearby Lincoln Park, N.J., when he blacked out at the controls. Rather than risk continuing the flight, he pulled the chute and hoped for the best. Despite a more dramatic (and less comfortable) outcome than some other Cirrus chute deployments, Reich remains sold on the concept. "Don't fly a single engine plane that isn't equipped with a parachute," he advises in his account of the incident.

Click through for Reich's account of the event, in his own words.

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